Author's Note Please note, spoilers are contained below. You have been warned. What belongs to Bioware render to Bioware.
London was burning.
The skies were aglow with countless stars despite the blanket of the night. Far above them, some of those lights were the innumerable ships that Shepard had herded together from every race of the galaxy to fight in one last battle. That armada, a new constellation in the sky, was a monument to the man himself. The Geth and Quarians were there alongside Turians, Asari and Salarians. The remnant of the Batarian fleet had joined in while numerous ships brought the otherwise planet locked Krogan. All were ready to fight. Some had lost their homes, many had lost someone they loved, all of them stood to lose everything if they did not win here.
And the Reapers were loathed to let these upstart children win. Fight, kick, flail and scream they would, like countless others before them. Still, the cycle was unending. Countless others had fought and tried, each Reaper in the night sky another monument to their victory and the failure of a race now extinct.
But hope endured. Fragile and dim was the glow of hope but hope endured nonetheless. Organics clung to it. The Geth admired it. Shepard defiantly was demanding it.
They just had to hold the line.
Somewhere under London's burning skies, Garrus, Tali, Liara, Javik, EDI, Wrex and countless Alliance marines maintained a desperate struggle against the demons from the night. Ashley and James had gone on with Shepard to get to the beam that would transport them to the Citadel. Everyone else needed to hold the line. They needed to buy Hammer, and Shepard, time. The more pressure they exerted here, the more forces the Reapers needed to apply at their location. That meant less Reaper forces to harass Hammer and Shepard.
Oddly enough, a Geth Prime got separated from the rest of its group during an airdrop and had joined forces with them. For now, they were just calling him "Prime."
"What's the matter, Garrus? Are you losing your edge? I'm pretty sure the machine over there is starting to catch up on your kill count!" Wrex roared in jest as he smashed a cannibal's face in.
"That's where you're wrong, my Krogan friend. You just can't see all the kills I've made. They're too far out of your line of sight." Garrus retorted just before his rifle barked.
"That's not a real fight, you got to beat them down with your bare hands!" Wrex guffawed.
"I headbutted a missile and won. I think I got this hand to hand thing down." Garrus replied.
"This is not sport, you need to focus on the matter at hand!" Javik scolded before the beam of his gun cut a swath in the darkness.
"Most of the members on Shepard's team do not act normally in combat situations. This banter is actually improving their performance." EDI noted, ducking behind cover.
"Most of Shepard's team do not act normally ever." Liara murmured.
Prime was silently wondering why organics insisted on filling audio conversation to everything.
Suddenly, there was the roar of an approaching vehicle. Reinforcements had arrived. However, instead of the typical blue armor of the Alliance, dark clad soldiers armed with non-conventional and heavily modified weapons stepped out. One of them, his dark armor covered in an urban camo pattern, fired his Viper sniper rifle before taking cover beside Garrus.
The Turian took a moment to glance at the man before squinting at him even harder.
"Lieutenant Von Seraph? Is that you?"
"...Oh God, of course I'd bump into the biggest flying loony bin in the most important fight of my life." Von Seraph sputtered.
"I heard that!" Liara snapped.
"Haha, that's exactly what I said earlier!" Wrex laughed.
Tali, who had been silent this whole time, fired a drone at their enemies before deciding to join in the conversation.
"We haven't seen you in awhile, Lieutenant." Tali said.
"That's not really my rank anymore. I signed on with some independent contractors." Von Seraph admitted.
"That's just a fancy way of saying 'mercs'" Garrus snorted.
"Hey, it's what all the cool kids where doing a couple months ago. Ahem." Von Seraph coughed sarcastically.
"I believe he's referring to us being enlisted by Cerberus." EDI pointed out.
"Ironic, the Reapers are here again and yet we can still talk about grudges." Javik murmured.
"So who's the bug guy with four eyes?" Von Seraph asked.
"He's a Prothean. Real disappointment." Liara answered.
"Haha, no, really, who is he?" Von Seraph chuckled skeptically.
"I am Prothean. You may call me 'Javik'" Javik asserted.
"...If we survive this, promise me right now that you won't go to me for therapy. Promise me, right now!" Von Seraph shouted.
"Oh come on, human. It wasn't so bad. We all had plenty of fun hanging out with Shepard all these years." Wrex defended.
"I am sure none have had an adventure quite like this." Liara nodded.
"Hmm, I am sure the antics were a bit...humorous." Javik murmured.
"And think of all the ridiculous love triangles...or quadrilaterals...hexagons?" Tali shrugged.
"And even you have to admit, Von Seraph, it was indeed quite philosophical." Garrus nodded.
"Good point, good point. It wasn't easy getting here but by all that is good in the universe, we probably had the time of our lives. We made a lot of hard decisions but we would not have had them any other way." Von Seraph nodded.
Suddenly the radio crackled.
"Hammer is wiped out! I repeat, Hammer is decimated!"
"Is there anyone left?"
"Negative! Hammer is gone! All units, retreat!"
The group stared at each other aghast, oblivious to the gunfire around them. Not a word was spoken, only a shared horror of what they had just heard. Could it be? Had they...failed?
"What do we do?" Tali asked.
"It can't be! We didn't go all this way just to fail now!" Liara shouted.
"Stand your ground!" Garrus asserted though the muscles on his face were strained from an eternal struggle.
"All right you Pyjaks, you can't tell me Shepard didn't have a quad. We will hold this line because knowing that crazy bastard, he's still alive and he's going to rip those Reapers a new one. Stay here and fight!" Wrex roared.
"We can't give up. Shepard would not have wanted you to despair. Keep fighting!" Von Seraph agreed.
The stared in silence as a giant roach form loomed high above them with a resounding boom. Staring at the Reaper that was no doubt staring back down at them, a surreal feeling descended on all of them.
"Keelah...is that...is that..."
"Harbinger!" Liara screamed.
"Retreat would be a viable option." Prime decided to announce.
Shepard woke up. It had been grueling to say the least and he was not quite sure how he was still alive. Granted, he had died, got spaced, burned up in atmo and crashed into a planet surface only to be revived after two years. Still, getting all but hit by a Reaper beam? He was quite in disbelief that he had all his limbs.
And it hurt like hell that Anderson was gone. And he almost felt bad for that Marauder he toasted before he got to the beam. One lone Marauder who had given everything he had. It wasn't enough.
Where was he?
"Wake up." a unearthly voice told him.
Shepard brought his eyes away from the panoramic view of the glass showing earth and the battle still raging between the allied ships and the Reapers. Letting his eyes focus, he saw a ghostly, glowing...child? The child from his dreams? But it looked like a VI image.
"Who...who are you?" Shepard let out.
"I am the Catalyst." the Catalyst announced.
"Well...this is unexpected." Shepard thought.
"I need to stop the Reapers. Can you help me?" Shepard asked, voice hoarse and laden with exhaustion.
"Perhaps. They are my solution." the Catalyst explained.
"Solution? Solution to what?" Shepard gasped.
The Normandy group was running as fast as they could, beams of angry red flying around them as Harbinger pummeled them with furious strikes.
"By my ancestors, why doesn't your stupid planet have a giant maw we could summon?" Wrex complained, rubble flying around them.
"Not all of us are blessed to live with a giant, ticked off worm under our feet!" Von Seraph shouted.
"This is not good, this is not good!" Tali shrieked as a beam scorched a path right beside them.
"You think there's still a good ending at all of this?" Garrus called, sprinting as fast as he could.
"What? Like predestination? The belief that all events are written, preordained and cannot be changed? God, I hope if that's true then there's a good writer behind all of this." Von Seraph panted.
"Minimal effort into talking will improve chances of survival by .00001 percent." Prime announced.
"...The Geth is correct." EDI agreed.
"Leave it to machines to take all the fun out of something." Wrex grumbled.
"Wherever we go, whatever happens, there is always an end to something. Good or bad, no matter how big the galactic scale, an end will come. It's just a matter of going to that end with grace and accepting it when it comes." Von Seraph panted, trying to keep up.
"You think there's any grace dying from a giant pissed of roach firing lasers at you?" Garrus snapped.
"It's happened before." Javik shrugged.
"This is our solution. The created will always rebel against their creators. We harvest the advance civilizations and store them in Reaper form, allowing the younger races to develop so they are not destroyed by synthetics." the Catalyst explained before showing Shepard to two, giant columns with a glowing beam between the two of them.
Shepard listened as the ghostly Catalyst explained all his options. Destroying the Reapers would destroy all synthetic life, quite possibly himself too because of his cybernetics. He could control the Reapers himself, despite the fact that the Catalyst already controlled them, though he would get consumed in the process. And then there was synthesis, sacrificing himself so that machine and organisms would be merged into a hybrid DNA.
"The paths will remain open to you, but you have a tough decision." the Catalyst said.
Shepard only nodded and gazed as the three great beams of light. He looked up above him and saw the drama of life and death going on around him, strangely serene when separated from the noise and the horror.
And then, unexpectedly, Shepard started laughing. Hysterically.
The Catalyst was not amused.
"What? What are you laughing?" the Catalyst demanded.
Laughing so hard tears were being squeezed from his eyes, Shepard salvaged what was left of his omni-tool and stumbled about his audio recordings. Very soon, several old logs were being played.
"Rudimentary creatures of blood and flesh. You touched my mind, fumbling in ignorance, incapable of understanding...We have no beginning. We have no end. We are infinite. Millions of years after your civilization has been eradicated and forgotten, we will endure." Sovereign's voice chimed from all those years back.
The room briefly lit up as yet another Reaper bit the dust.
"And...after all of that...ahaha...hehehehehehe...ahahaha...here I was thinking...you'd explain something...hehehehehe...truly profound..." Shepard could not collect himself.
The Catalyst folded his arms in front of him in disapproval.
"Wait, wait...this is too good, I need to share this with everyone!" Shepard giggled as he turned on his radio. After all, he was just speaking with Hackett.
It took only a couple minutes but before long, every single ship, soldier, vehicle or person with access to a radio was listening in on the largest broadcast ever. That also included the Reapers.
"Haha, and get this, get this, he tells me the Mass Relays will be destroyed no matter which option I choose! Hahahaha!" Shepard laughed hysterically.
Understandably, all the Batarians started freaking out as their ships fell out of formation.
"I'm just glad you contacted us on the radio, Commander. I was being filled with the inexplicable urge to bug out and go fly on a mass relay." Joker admitted.
"But this is just the dumbest thing! Listen to this kid! It's the logic of an synthetic! All organics are chaos, we must impose order, so I created synthetics to destroy organics so synthetics don't destroy them!" Shepard mocked in hysterics.
Prime, who had been silent, suddenly started glowing a different color as the entire Geth consensus rose up to speak out. Their voices were many and loud.
"We are offended. We are synthetics and this logic has none whatsoever." Prime spoke with the voice of millions.
Admiral Xen suddenly was on the radio.
"Wait, wait, but we just got the Geth to work with us again. They were practically tripping over each other to help us get set up on Rannoch."
Both Quarian and Geth voices were agreeing over the broadcast. Another voice, belonging to Admiral Raan, made up another point.
"Don't you dare choose synthesis. We're just getting used to biological disease. You mean to tell me we're going to have to worry about computer viruses as well?" Raan protested.
"Yeah, I'm quite attached to my body despite its silly hormones and frailty and desires for companionship and love. Organic bodies are a little more conducive to hugging. Just saying." Garrus shrugged.
"Whoever would have thought that a synthetic would be so...stupid." Wrex grumbled.
"Watch your generalizations, Wrex." EDI scolded.
Von Seraph, who had been quiet, was staring in awe behind him.
"Guys...am...am I seeing what I think I'm seeing?" Von Seraph sputtered.
The others turned around and followed his gaze. It was not hard to miss. It was just a matter of coming to terms with it.
"Is...is that really..." Liara could not find it in her to finish the sentence.
"But...but...it couldn't be...any other..." Tali was also rendered speechless.
"Is Harbinger face palming?" Von Seraph finished.
Sure enough, one metallic tentacle was plastered to where its forehead might be.
"You now understand why we stuck with the grandiose language. It was easier to threaten vaguely than trying to explain the truth." Harbinger's all consuming voice broke the sky.
"Hahahahaha...this kid, he's killing me!" Shepard was still laughing over the radio.
And quite suddenly, Harbinger buckled under its feet and the giant Reaper crashed into the earth, its lights flickering before growing dark. In the distance, booming rumbles split the air as more and more Reapers also collapsed. Overhead, the distant lights of starships fell silent.
"Is it just me or are all the Reapers suddenly...dying?" Liara asked.
EDI, who had been silent, triple checked her findings before explaining what was going on.
"That would be the sound of Reapers dying of embarrassment."
"...So...stupid." Javik grumbled disgustedly.
And somewhere on the Citadel, Shepard was howling with laughter.
"After all this time? Hahahahahaha! I kept looking for a bigger gun but all I needed was to show them fifth graders had more logic than their boss? HAHHAHAHAHHAHA! This is even better than trying to trick them into dividing by zero! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"
Listening to Shepard have yet another meltdown back on Earth, Garrus looked over at Von Seraph.
"You absolutely sure you don't want to take a look at him?" Garrus asked.
"I'm just glad to get a good ending." Von Seraph replied, staring up at the stars.
Author's Note: All right, lets get past what might be the more obvious questions.
Q: Holy crap, you got back to this?
A: I know, right?
Q: But what about ME2? you missed all of that!
A: My funny bone hasn't been working lately with all the work to be done and a book I'm actually trying to publish
Q: But will you work on this some more, do more ME3 and 2 stuff?
A: Maybe. Depends on if inspiration comes back, and maybe what Bioware does.
Q: So did you have a reason behind dusting this off just to make a crack at the end?
A: Yes. It's clear most of us have been turned off by the ending. Lets not let that make us forget that wonderful fun we had all those years just because of the last ten minutes of the game. Bioware claims they are listening and they are trying to address the issues. If the ending left you feeling cold, I'd encourage you to gather your thoughts and then decide if you want to positively respond to that. I'd encourage you to constructively, diplomatically, pick the blue option and give Bioware your opinion on how to improve this if that is your opinion.